HANSON — The Board of Selectmen has followed its March 17 decision to delay the Town Meeting to June 15 with a unanimous vote on Tuesday, March 24 to move the town’s annual Election — from Saturday May 26 to Saturday, June 27.
The last day to obtain nomination papers from the Town Clerk would be Wednesday, May 6 and to submit them to the registrars is Friday, May 8. The deadline to file nomination papers with the Town Clerk will be Friday, May 22 and to object or withdraw is Wednesday, May 27.
Tuesday, May 26 would be the last day to register to vote in the Town Election.
Gov. Baker’s March 12 declaration of a State of Emergency, allows municipalities to postpone Town Meeting and Town Election due to public safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The declaration also suspends the Open Meeting Law requirement that public meetings be held in an open and accessible location, while encouraging remote meetings so long as the public is able to follow along with deliberations.
The Selectmen’s agenda, posted on the town website hanson-ma.gov, included instructions for the public to join the meeting.
The conference call meeting was broadcast on Whitman Hanson Cable Access and is available for repeat viewing on the WHCA YouTube channel.
Town Administrator John Stanbrook reported to the board that he has compiled a list of all essential and non-essential personnel in Town Hall and throughout the town.
“It doesn’t mean what people do isn’t essential — it has nothing to do with the work that they do,” Stanbrook said. “In this particular situation that we’re in right now … non-essential people do not have to come in [to work]. They’re going to be working from home as much as possible, they have remote access … to the programs that they need to do their jobs and also to answer voicemails from remote locations.”
Social distancing, hand-washing and sanitizing practices are also being followed in town buildings.
Selectmen voted to authorize Stanbrook to sign warrants for the board and provide reports to Selectmen during the emergency.
Selectmen also decided against imposing a temporary ban on reuseable bags as residents have been expressing concern about their use during the coronavirus emergency, according to Selectmen Chairman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett.
“They are concerned that the coronavirus could be transmitted, could be carried on these and the state of New Hampshire has banned reuseable bags,” she said. “Because I’m trying to be responsible to what people’s concerns are, we put it on the agenda.”
Health Agent Gil Amado said he spoke to Health Board Chairman Arlene Dias that day, who reported that most stores will now refuse to place items in reuseable bags, but will permit the customer to do so. He favored an advisory to the stores rather than a ban on the reusebale bags.
Noting that Shaw’s is likely the only store affected, it would be up to the store to make such a decision.
Selectman Matt Dyer, echoing the rest of the board’s attitude that it does not seem to be a major concern, noted that Shaw’s now has a policy against packing reuseable bags, but permitting customers to do so if they wish.
“I think this really does fall under the perview of the Board of Health,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “I’m just putting it on here to get the discussion going and give the Board of Health some idea of where the Selectmen’s heads are at.”
Amado also said the pandemic is pointing to the need to obtain the list of hair salons in town from a hand-written list in a lose-leaf notebook at the Town Clerk’s office.
“I think we have a lot of lessons learned, Mr. Amado,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said. “We’ll be doing forensic look at lessons learned once we get through this.”